MEN'S FASHION GAINS GROUND

A look through today's magazines, newspapers, and retail stores in America indicates a growing prominence for men's fashion. More designer clothes, accessories, and personal products - from moisturizing shave gel to hair mousse pour monsieur - point to a widening market.

The reason? Observers cite a trend indicating American men are becoming more image-concious.

``Men care more; they're more interested and not afraid'' of fashion says Nonnie Moore, fashion director for Gentlemen's Quarterly magazine, also known as GQ.

When new stores such as Bergdorf Goodman Men, Barneys, New York, and Louis of Boston open up ``they are big scenes,'' she adds.

Men also have more choices nowadays which help pique interests - different looks coming from Europe, Italy, and America, Ms. Moore points out.

``What is happening now in men's clothes is a great metamorphosis,'' says Derrill Osborn, vice-president and director of men's clothing for Neiman-Marcus. ``Men are moving away from set traditional thinking into a new ballgame.''

The fastest-growing segment of menswear is designer clothing, says Mr. Osborn. ``Men seem to be gravitating toward designer names. They relate to a particular designer, the lifestyle of that designer,'' he adds.

``Men are more adventuresome, and they're certainly reading more [on fashion]. ... Even business magazines are advertising men's products and fashion,'' says Osborn. ``It's a very exciting period.''

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